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Choosing a Program

Choosing a study abroad program is exciting for some students, but it can seem overwhelming for others. Whether you are a confident traveler with clear plans in mind or you just want to explore possibilities, the Office of Education Abroad staff are here to guide all students through selecting and applying for programs that will help them achieve their academic, professional, and personal goals.

To get started, students should reflect on the questions below and schedule an appointment with an Education Abroad Adviser to discuss program options.

  • Why do you want to study abroad?
  • When will be the best time for you to include an international experience into your time at Davidson?
  • Is program length important?
  • Do you want to take classes in English?
  • Do you need to take specific courses while abroad?
  • Do you want to be in classes with local students and have a broad range of courses from which to choose, or does a program focused on a specific topic with a cohort of students appeal to you?
  • Do you want to conduct research or fieldwork or become engaged in a community project?
  • Do you prefer an urban environment or one that is more rural?
  • What housing options will work for you?
  • Do you have any health or dietary concerns?
  • Are you concerned about how one or more aspects of your identity will be perceived abroad?
  • Do you have any other needs that are important to consider? 

When considering potential study abroad locations, many students look toward destinations in Western Europe, especially in English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. 

While an education abroad experience in Western cultures similar to the United States can be enriching, students should consider the advantages of choosing a less-traditional location to spend a term abroad, like this Gilman Scholarship recipient. While their choice of academic program may influence where they study, choosing a less common destination may encourage students to examine their own culture more closely and to increase their intercultural skill development. Studying in non-traditional destinations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America can increase students’ personal and professional outcomes, challenging them in different ways and providing additional opportunities:
  • Changes in attitude, flexibility, and the development of complex problem skills
  • Recognition from potential employers that a different set of skills is gained by living in non-traditional locations
  • Meaningful cultural integration, language, and intercultural learning
  • Reduction of stereotypes and unconscious biases
  • More financial aid and scholarship opportunities
  • Lower cost of living in most cases

Occasionally, students are interested in studying on a program that has not been approved by the International Education Committee. Students with compelling academic reasons for participating in a program that is not currently approved are encouraged to contact Naomi Otterness, Director of Education Abroad, at The International Education Committee will consider new program approval requests for the follow calendar year annually in the spring. All program approval requests must be submitted to the Director of Education Abroad by March 15.